Meta-analysis of randomised trials comparing the use of prophylactic mesh to standard midline closure in the reduction of incisional herniae

R Payne, J Aldwinckle, S Ward
Hernia: the Journal of Hernias and Abdominal Wall Surgery 2017, 21 (6): 843-853

Purpose Incisional hernia (IH) is common complication following laparotomy. Research suggests that the use of a prophylactic mesh can reduce the rate of IH. We performed an updated meta-analysis to better understand the evidence regarding prevention of IH using prophylactic mesh.

METHODS: PubMed,, and the Cochrane database were searched for randomised controlled trials comparing closure of the abdomen after laparotomy using a prophylactic mesh with suture closure. A meta-analysis was then performed. The primary outcome was the occurrence of IH.

RESULTS: Eight studies were identified for inclusion in the meta-analysis with a total of 727 patients.

PRIMARY OUTCOME: There was a significant reduction in the occurrence of IH in the mesh group vs. the suture repair group, OR 0.14 (95% CI 0.07-0.27).

SECONDARY OUTCOMES: There was a significant increase in the number of seromas in the mesh group vs. the suture repair group, OR 1.73 (95% CI 1.04-2.87). There was also a significant increase in operative time in the mesh group vs. the suture repair group SMD 0.24 (95% CI 0.00-0.48).

CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis found a reduction in the occurrence of IH after a laparotomy when a prophylactic mesh is used versus a suture repair. The majority of patients included in the studies were deemed to be at high risk of IH. There appears to be sufficient evidence to recommend the use of a prophylactic mesh during laparotomy in high-risk patients.

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